NIALL W. SLATER



The Fabrication of Comic Illusion

But art has no goal. It evolves but it does not necessarily progress. Just as the history of politics isn't simply a progress towards parliamentary democracy, so the history of painting isn't simply a progress towards photographic realism.

---Sir Anthony Blunt, in Alan Bennett's A Question of Attribution
Among the many changes from Old to New Comedy is one basic to the framing of the action on stage and therefore to our interpretation of the plays in their entirety: it is the creation of a consistently maintained dramatic illusion. Gregory Sifakis focussed the discussion of this question with his bold claim that "illusion as a psychological phenomenon was entirely alien to Greek theatrical audiences..."1 While many would regard that now as an overstatement, it was a useful overstatement nonetheless. It liberated us from the view that Aristophanes was groping his way toward nineteenth century illusionistic comedy, rather like some people's view of an early Renaissance painter, painstakingly working toward vanishing point perspective; we now can see that Aristophanes might rather have his own aesthetic and structural principles in which a striving after illusion played no part.
Whether one then accepts Old Comedy as fundamentally non-illusory drama2 or prefers still to see breaking of illusion in the parabases and other metatheatrical devices in Aristophanes, it is in any case clear that stage convention and practice have changed significantly by the time of Menander's plays. Direct address to the audience essentially disappears, except for the occasional use of ndrew in a soliloquy,3 as do references to stage machinery4 and address to the flute-player (an exception being Dyskolos 8805). Above all, there are no claims about the quality of the play or abuse of the playwright's rivals, such as we know in Old Comedy.
This triumph of illusion is sometimes attributed simply to the influence of Euripides or more generally tragedy, sometimes to a loss of imagination and nerve following the Athenian defeat in the Peloponnesian War. It seems more valuable to examine, not the Zeitgeist, but the changing conditions of production in the Greek theatre. The evidence suggests that several interrelated developments within the period we now dub Middle Comedy, including the repetition of plays, the rise of stock character types, and the decline or at least transformation of the chorus, all contributed to the fabrication of a consistent stage illusion in comedy. Let us look briefly at these in turn.
The simple fact that plays were now being restaged or toured beyond the original Athenian performance encouraged new kinds of comic writing. Certainly some plays in the fifth century had more than one production: we know of Aeschylus restaging a play in Sicily during his lifetime. Evidence for deme theatres in Attica in the late fifth century may not be conclusive proof for touring productions of comedies and tragedies staged earlier in Athens,6 though we do know that tragedies were restaged in the theatre in the Peiraeus. The real explosion of demand for theatre comes in the fourth century. An anecdote about Anaxandrides, from Chamaileon on comedy, tells us that he was unusual because, instead of revising his failed plays and producing them again (for the secondary market?), he simply destroyed them (Athen. 9.373f-374b; cf. Eust. 1834.15):
pikrw d n t yow poei ti toioto per tw kvmdaw: te gr m nikh, lambnvn dvken ew tn libanvtn katatemen ka o meteskeazen sper o pollo. ka poll xonta komcw tn dramtvn fnize, duskolanvn tow yeataw di t graw.
Being of a morose disposition, [Anaxandrides] used to do this with his comedies: whenever he failed to win, he took and gave them to the dealers in frankincense to chop up with it, and he never revised them, as most writers did. In this way he destroyed many plays which had been elaborately composed, because his old age made him peevish toward the spectators.7

Perhaps Anaxandrides was conservative in other ways too. Nesselrath notes the rarity of anapaestic tetrameters, a characteristic recitative metre of Old Comedy, in the remains of Middle Comedy: two of three examples are in Anaxandrides.8 Our sample is not genuinely random, and the metre is employed by actors as well as chorus, but its use is nonetheless noteworthy.
A geographically expanded audience had less interest in specifically Athenian politics. Nesselrath notes this decline: some political comments remain, but they are "local color,"9 like Attic geographical references. Perhaps these latter were of especial interest on the touring circuit of the deme celebrations of the rural Dionysia. Because such references are inorganic to plot, far from breaking the illusion, they help suture the audience into the play experience. References to demes and demotics seem to be about as frequent in Middle Comedy as in Old, but the names are not the subject of puns, as they were in Aristophanes.10 Once again, Anaxandrides harks back more to the spirit of Aristophanes, when he makes a joke at the expense of the deme of Sunium, implying they were careless about citizen registrations.11
An export market for comedy grew up as well. There is a growing consensus that the South Italian vases which we conventionally call phlyax vases, based on the notion that they represent native phlyax drama, in fact often depict performances of Greek, indeed specifically Athenian scripted comedy. Oliver Taplin has given us one of the more striking pieces of evidence with his demonstration that a South Italian vase depicts a performance of Aristophanes' Thesmophoriazusae,12 and more evidence, including the use of Attic, rather than Doric, Greek on vases to indicate what they are saying, continues to be noted. Richard Green in particular has shown that the Apulian vases showing comic scenes were manufactured primarily in Taranto, which provided a ready audience for Greek touring companies, but such vases were not being painted in the South Italian hinterland.13 The conclusion is clear: what we have been calling phlyax drama is in fact Greek comedy, and primarily Middle Comedy, as produced by Greek touring companies, the forerunners of the Artists of Dionysus.14
The international market for plays helps explain the disappearance of direct, metatheatrical references to the comic competition. Stephen Halliwell has recently observed15 that "gibes and counter-gibes of collaboration, plagiarism and the like, had by [the last third of the fifth century] become a stock comic topos---a recurrent motif in the twin techniques of self-promotion and denigration of others that played an explicit part in the rivalry of comic poets competing for public prizes." This motif simply disappears in the next century---though plagiarism does not. Middle Comedy playwrights stole freely from each other without recorded reproach, as Richard Hunter notes in his commentary on Eubulus fr. 67 K [= 67 K.-A.], where line 4 is essentially identical to Xenarchus fr. 4 K.-A. line 6.16 The sea-change in the world of comedy is obvious: charges of plagiarism would simply be unintelligible in a touring production, which may well not have been written for the Athenian market to begin with.
The career of Menander provides striking evidence for the writing of plays for a non-Athenian market.17 Over one hundred titles of his plays are known, far more than he could have produced at Athenian festivals during his lifetime. The inference that some were written for non-Athenian performances is obvious. The further question arises as to what texts we have. In the absence of positive evidence, we should presume that we have the performance versions of the touring companies (we hear of no state archival copies of comedy, as we do for tragedy).18
This does not mean that certain more abstract metatheatrical elements were excluded from the comic stage immediately, but they become rarer and more generalized. One especially interesting fragment is from Timocles' Women at the Dionysia, fr. 6 K.-A., where an unnamed speaker discusses how watching the myths of tragedy is a comfort or perhaps a therapy for the audience in their own personal griefs.
tn, kouson n ti soi dok lgein.
nyrvpw sti zion pponon fsei,
ka poll lupr' bow n auti frei.
paracuxw on frontdvn nereto
(5) tataw?: gr now tn dvn lyhn labn
prw llotrvi te cuxagvghyew pyei,
mey' donw plye paideuyew ma.
tow gr tragvidow prton, e bolei, skpei
w felosi pntaw. mn n gr pnhw
(10) ptvxteron ato katamayn tn Tlefon
genmenon dh tn penan =ion frei.
nosn ti manikn Alkmvn' skcato.
fyalmii tiw: es Finedai tuflo.
tynhk tvi paw: Nibh kekofike.
(15) xvlw tiw st: tn Filoktthn ri.
grvn tiw tuxe: katmayen tn Ona.
panta gr t mezon' ppony tiw
tuxmat' lloiw gegont' nnoomenow
tw atw ato sumforw tton stnei
Consider first, if you will, how the tragedians help everyone. For the man who's poor finds Telephus to be even poorer than himself and so bears his own poverty more easily. The sick man sees Alcmaeon raving mad. Someone has eye disease---well, the sons of Phineus are blind. Someone's child has died---Niobe is a comfort. The lame sees Philoctetes, an old man in misfortune learns about Oineus. So each one, having learned of all the greater misfortunes having befallen others, laments his own lot the less.

Tragedy as the opiate of the people, in other words.19 Note that nothing in the passage implies that the audience must have seen a particular play, that is, a particular author's version of the myth; paradoxically, the tragic myths are viewed as having a comforting reality to them.
More puzzling are two fragments from Alexis's play, the Gunaikokrata or Womenocracy. The first, fr. 42 K.-A., has often been cited in discussions about whether women attended the theatre in Athens.20
ntaya per tn sxthn de kerkda
mw kayizosaw yevren w jnaw

You women must sit there in the farthest section21
to watch, since you're strangers.
We know essentially nothing about this play beyond what the title and the two fragments tell us. Boettiger, who saw this fragment as the strongest evidence against his view that women did not attend the theatre, argued that, like the Ecclesiazusae, the Gynaikokratia portrayed a topsy-turvy world of women invading what was in fact a male public space.22 Later Kann also took the view that the Gynaikokratia was about women attempting to control a public sphere.23 Who speaks? To whom? And what are they watching? We simply do not know the answers to the first two questions, but I would agree with Jeffrey Henderson, who says, citing the subject of the next fragment, that "we are entitled to assume that the festival in question was theatrical."24 That fragment, 43 K-A., deals with an actor.
d Klij d' Ippoklw,
zvmotrixow pokritw

This Hippocles of Cilicia,
the pickled-fish actor
This is of course the only use of zvmotrixow in this sense, so we are left wondering whether the epithet reflects one of Hippocles' eating habits, or is rather an aesthetic judgement upon his acting style. If the latter, it is doubtless unflattering. In either case, such personal comment is extremely rare in the period of Middle Comedy, and we can only conclude that Alexis was somewhat retrograde in this respect25 (though we cannot date the Gynaikokratia in his long career).26

The evolution of stock characters and stock scenes represents a more complex level of borrowing from competitors and simultaneously moved comedy sharply toward illusion. Once again, the archaeological record is particularly helpful: terracotta figurines begin to appear, of which a famous example is the New York Group. As Richard Green has convincingly argued, however, they do not represent the cast of a single play; there are simply too many copies, over too long a period of time. As he points out, " No single play or set of plays could have been that popular or had so much re-play."27 Instead they represent a growing standardization of masks and stock character types, which could be used and re-used in varying plays. Antiphanes (who seems to have averaged 5 or 6 plays a year and was clearly writing for more than the Athenian festival market) is therefore somewhat disingenuous in the famous complaint in his Poetry (fr. 189 K.-A.), where it is asserted that writing comedy is harder than tragedy because all the names, characters, and events must be invented anew each time.
makrin stin tragvida
pohma kat pnt', e ge prton o lgoi
p tn yeatn esin gnvrismnoi,
prn ka tin' epen: sy' pomnsai mnon
(5) de tn poihtn. Odpoun gr ~ f
t d' lla pnt' sasin: patr Liow,
mthr Ioksth, yugatrew, padew tnew,
t pesey' otow, t pepohken. n plin
ephi tiw Alkmvna, ka t paida
(10) pnt' eyw erhx', ti manew pktone
tn mhtr', ganaktn d' Adrastow eyvw
jei plin t' peisi
y' tan mhyn dnvnt' epen ti,
komidi d' peirkvsin n tow drmasin,
(15) arousin sper dktulon tn mhxann,
ka tow yevmnoisin poxrntvw xei.
mn d tat' ok stin, ll pnta de
eren, nmata kain,
kpeita t ~ divikhmna
(20) prteron, t nn parnta, tn katastrofn,
tn esboln. n n ti totvn paralphi
Xrmhw tiw Fedvn tiw, ksurttetai:
Phle d pnt' jesti ka Tekrvi poien

Tragedy's a cushy art altogether,
since first of all the spectators
know the plots already, before anyone speaks---
all the poet has to do is remind them.
All I need to do is say "Oedipus"
and they know the rest---his father Laius,
his mother Jocasta, his daughters, sons,
what will happen to him, what he's done. Or again
if someone says "Alcmaeon," in the same breath
he's included all the children, how he went off his rocker
and killed his mother, and how Adrastos will enter and leave again...
And when the poets can't come up with anything
and have said absolutely everything in their plays
they lift the crane just like a finger
and the spectators get their money's worth.
That's not the way with us comic poets---we have to invent everything: new names, set-up, action, second act curtain,
opening.28 If a Chremes or a Pheidon leaves out any of this, he's hissed off the stage, but Peleus and Teucer can do what they please.
Characters and plots were by no means unique. The rise and fall of the boastful cook in Middle Comedy demonstrates the dynamics of the market for comedy: type scenes (arrival, marketing, report on menus) evolve which can be added to any play the cook appears in, but a decline for this particular figure sets in after mid-century,29 and parasites, slaves, and young lovers fill the vacuum.
Finally, the decline of the chorus (apparent already in late Aristophanes) goes hand in hand with the fabrication of a comic illusion. Now the decline of the chorus does not mean necessarily the disappearance of the chorus: there were choral performances in late Aristophanes and in Menander,30 and Kenneth Rothwell (elsewhere in this volume) provides evidence that the Athenians continued to pay handsomely to support tragic and comic choruses. The question is what relation this choral activity had to the plays being written. Richard Hunter has carefully examined the evidence for the chorus during the transition from Old to New Comedy,31 but several of the passages he discusses appear to be references to the chorus, rather than verses actually sung by the chorus: his best candidates for the latter are Alexis fr. 239 K.-A. [=237K], Anaxilas fr. 13 K.-A. [=13K], and Eubulus frr. 102-103 K.-A. [=104-105K]. In other words, there is very little evidence to contradict the picture that plays were being written to allow for the insertion of choral lyrics when a chorus was available to sing them, but there is also very little to indicate the presence of choruses more specific than Menander's typical drunken revellers, that is, choruses which had characters and verses written for them by the play's author.32
This accords well with the picture we have been building up of both a domestic and an international audience for comedy. Plays written for the festivals in Athens could still expect production with a full chorus, and a playwright might choose to write lyrics for such a performance.33 Most plays, however, were written with an eye on the international market, where production conditions were much more varied. At Delphi in the third century BC, we have inscriptional evidence for a single comic chorus of seven which was shared by three troupes of comic actors. Sifakis assumes that these choristers were professional.34 That does not mean, however, that these choristers regularly toured with any one of the competing troupes. More likely they were based at Delphi. More commonly the Hellenistic inscriptions mention only chorus trainers,35 which suggests that touring troupes for major festivals might recruit and train a local chorus. One wonders how much rehearsal time was available and therefore how high a standard such choruses could attain. Even if the playwrights wished to hold onto this oldest element of comedy, amateur choristers were extraneous to the theatre of professionalized and highly specialized comic actors in the great guilds of the Artists of Dionysus. Lesser companies presumably simply did without choruses, and the productions were no less intelligible.36
Interconnected with this decline of the chorus was the fundamental change in theatre architecture brought about by the raised stage. Though the stage was never completely cut off from the orchestra level,37 this change reduced any possible interchange between chorus and actors to the moments of the latter's entrances and exits. If not quite so powerful as the nineteenth century picture frame proscenium, the raised stage of the Hellenistic theatre ratified the divide of the dramatic world in two, and the actors inhabited a world of consistent verisimilitude.38
Before closing, we must nonetheless cast one glance at the possible influence of tragedy on this process and in particular at an extremely interesting fragment that has only recently come to light. It has most recently been edited by Anton Bierl,39 who argues that it comes from a comedy, not a satyr play, as Kannicht maintains.40
e]w o`d`m' p`olsyo`[i
]t`or ` ` ` ` iw [
]nase` ` ` ` `iaiw
(4) ]s`eme`l`hw[ ` `] ` [ `]w` `mnon
] ` bla[ ` ] ` [ ` `]y`eow Arkw
]skeptomen`[ ``` ` ``` `]s`oss`unhn
] `u`l`e` ` ` ` `d`hw ` ` ` ` ` ` ``` ` `e`i` pardvken`
(8) ]pefeugw yuron g now ntr`a`wvn
]ourgow plow, psh`w kakaw m`$a`ntow
] `osisou` karpn mn ln tn $reion
]a`````ito plai yhrn fdoiw k$miston
(12) ] paidesaw rion b`hn flaja
karp]n praw ra bay`eaw p lhn`$ow
]n ew ynhtow nfhna potn Dion$ʸsou
]s`ow msthw opote lgvn p Bkxvi
(16) ]de yeo prth plokmoiw ndhsen`
]v`n lyh xris`i`n` k`enaiw nlamcen
]ai yasow. toide kompen didxyhn
] `` mgaw fhsn oidw Salamnow
(20) ]hw tamaw, nn d' e`w ptaw keklismai
]aw parow pourg`n taw ceudomna[iw] ` ` ` `[
]arapmcei tn p' yneaw pegervn
]gnvte, yea : tragikn parn pnow mnvn
(24) ] `ow rzei m t d`ikavw kal m`xyvi
]fynta mliw y`te parrgou trta frtou
a`den `ryi Dinusow
br`abesaw` g`' n gni

1 ... [he] slipped off into the billowy wave...
4 ... of Semele ... hymn...
... Arcadian god ...
... observing ...
... handed over ....
8 ... having fled, as a child I played [in] the caves ...
... a simple worker..., undefiled by any evil ...
... picking the mountain fruit...
... long ago uncultivated, to [?] the approaches of beasts ...
12 ... I guarded the young fruit I trained ...
... [the fruit] of autumn I carried to deep winepresses ...
... to mortals I revealed the drink of Dionysus ...
... the initiate never ceasing ... to Bacchus ...
16 ... and the first [female follower?] of the god bound with
curls ...
... forgetfulness shone forth in those joys ...
... thiasos. I was taught to boast of such things ...
... the great bard of Salamis says ...
20 ... the steward, and now I've been rolled into deceptions ...
... doing little service to the fictions ...
... rousing him from that far-off bourne, [he] will send ...
... goddesses. The present labor of tragic hymns ...
24 ... defines so that justly beautiful things not ... with toil ...
... scarcely consider third [prize?] a sideline burden ...
... Dionysus rightly ...
... judging in the competition ...41
In an extremely important article which lays out the metatheatrical dimensions of this text, Bierl suggests that we may have a spokesman for comedy complaining that, under the influence of Euripides, comedy has fallen into a use of illusion, which is appropriate rather to tragedy.42 Because all of the lines lack at least one metron at the beginning, some very basic elements of the interpretation are obscure. There may be one, two, or three speakers. The verses may come from a parabasis or an agon. I do accept that the "bard of Salamis" (oidw Salamnow) in line 19 is Euripides and that ew ptaw keklismai in line 20 does refer to theatrical illusion.43 What is unclear is whether the speaker of line 20 is necessarily acting as a spokesman for, or judge of, the genre of comedy. Certainly the direct reference in line 23 to tragic hymns is at home only in a comedy, not a satyr play. The idea that the speaker is specifically describing the influence of tragic pth on the writing of comedy may be more a result of the conventional belief in Euripidean influence on comedy than a direct inference from this tantalizingly fragmentary text. The fragment is also hard to date, but Bierl's suggestion of a turn-of-the-century date, not far from the death of Euripides, seems in keeping with the subject matter. Bierl's interpretation of trta in line 25 as "third prize" does suggest some further support for this date. On the conventional view that the number of competing comedies at the City Dionysia was reduced to three during the war years and only later restored to five, the reference to third prize (as apparently the worst position one could attain) suggests a date at the end of the fifth century rather than in the next.44
Such a date too fits the concern over the fates of both tragedy and comedy that is evident in The Frogs. I believe it is not just the wisdom of hindsight which sees in that play's debates concern not just for the political fate of Athens, but for the dramatic genres she had so preeminently nourished. Great artistic achievements commanded the attention of an ever-widening public, so large that it was soon beyond any centralized control. The archon basileus could determine what was seen in Athens but not elsewhere.

Illusion triumphed in the fourth century comic theatre not because tragedy was so compelling a model for dramaturgy but because a diverse and internationalized audience created an enormous demand for a standardized and portable product. Illusion may not even have been a conscious goal of the playwrights in this process, and some, including perhaps Anaxandrides and the author of P. Kln 242A, may have resisted the demands of distribution and market forces. Illusion was not inevitable. As much as anything else, it may have been the incidental result of the "framing" of comic action which took place both physically on the raised stage and metaphorically through the abstraction of the comedy from its specifically Athenian festal setting.

Niall W. Slater
Emory University

Bierl, Anton. 1990. "Dionysus, Wine, and Tragic Poetry: A Metatheatrical Reading of P. Kln VI 242A = TrGF II F646a." GRBS 31: 353-391.

Edmonds, J. M. 1959. The Fragments of Attic Comedy. vol. 2. Leiden.

Frost, K. B. 1988. Exits and Entrances in Menander. Oxford.

Ghiron-Bistagne, P. 1976. Recherches sur les acteurs dans la Grce antique. Paris.

Gomme. A. W. and F. Sandbach. 1973. Menander: A Commentary. Oxford.

Green, J. R. 1991a. "On Seeing and Depicting the Theatre in Classical Athens," GRBS 32:15-50.

Green, J. R. 1991b. "Notes on Phlyax Vases," Quaderni Ticinesi di Numismatica e antichit classiche [= NumAntCl] 20: 49-56.

Halliwell, Stephen. 1989. "Authorial Collaboration in the Athenian Comic Theatre." GRBS 30 : 515-528.

Handley, E. W. 1953. "XOROU in the Plutus." CQ n.s. 3: 55-61.

Handley, E. W. 1965. The Dyskolos of Menander. Harvard.

Henderson, Jeffrey. 1991. "Women and the Athenian Dramatic Festivals." TAPA 121: 133-147.

Hunter, R. L. 1976. "The Comic Chorus in the Fourth Century." ZPE 36: 23-38.

Hunter, R.L. 1983. Eubulus: The Fragments. Cambridge.

Kann, S. 1909. De iteratis apud poetas antiquae et mediae comoediae Atticae (diss. Giesen).

Maidment, K. J. 1935. "The Later Comic Chorus," CQ 29: 1-24.

Mette, H. J. 1977. Urkunden dramatischer Auffhrungen in Griechenland. Berlin and New York.

Nesselrath, H-G. 1990. Die attische Mittlere Komdie. Berlin and New York.

Pohlenz, Max. 1920. "Die Anfnge der griechischen Poetik." Nachrichten von der Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Gttingen 1920: 142-178.

Sifakis, G. M. 1967. Studies in the History of Hellenistic Drama. London.

Sifakis, G. M. 1971a. Parabasis and Animal Choruses. London.

Sifakis, G. M. 1971b. "Aristotle, E.N., IV, 2, 1123 a 19-24, and the Comic Chorus in the Fourth Century." AJP 92: 410-432.

Slater, Niall W. 1985. "Play and Playwright References in Middle and New Comedy," Liverpool Classical Monthly 10: 103-05.

Slater, Niall W. 1987. "Transformations of Space in New Comedy," in Themes in Drama 9: Space. Cambridge.

Slater, Niall W. 1988. "Problems in the Hypotheses to Aristophanes' Peace," ZPE 74: 43-57.

Slater, Niall W. 1991. "The Players Come Again." Arion 1.3: 195-201. [review of Frost 1988].

Slater, Niall W. 1993. "Space, Character, and APATH: Transformation and Transvaluation in the Acharnians," pp. 397-415 in Tragedy, Comedy, and the Polis, ed. Alan Sommerstein. Levante Editore, Bari.

Styan, J. L. 1975. Drama, Stage and Audience. Cambridge.

Taplin, Oliver. 1987a. "Phallology, Phlyakes, Iconography and Aristophanes." PCPS 213 (n.s. 33) 92-104.

Taplin, Oliver. 1987b. "Classical Phallology, Iconographic Parody, and Potted Aristophanes." Dioniso 57: 95-109.

Taplin, Oliver. 1991. "Auletai and Auletrides in Greek Comedy and Comic Vase-Paintings." Quaderni Ticinesi di Numismatica e antichit classiche [= NumAntCl] 20: 31-48.

Taplin, Oliver. 1993. Comic Angels. Oxford.

Webster, T. B. L. 19783. Monuments Illustrating Old and Middle Comedy3, rev. J. R. Green (= BICS Supplement 39). London.

Whitehead, David. 1986. The Demes of Attica 508/7 - ca. 250 B. C. Princeton.




1Sifakis 1971a.7. Green 1991a.15-50, esp. 40, has recently pointed out how differently the vase painters see tragedy and comedy; for a succinct bibliography on the question of illusion in comedy, 26 n. 37.

2I use the term of Styan 1975 (see esp. 180-223).

3E.g., Samia 269. See Gomme and Sandbach 1973 ad loc. for a list of further examples. Frost 1988.116-117 ad Samia 725 suggests that the martrvn referred to are members of the audience, but the allusion is subtle and not absolutely required.

4Frost 1988. 29-31 discusses the use of the ekkyklema at Aspis 299ff., originally suggested by J. M. Jacques, "Mouvement des acteurs et conventions scniques dan l'acte II du Bouclier de Menandre, Grazer Beitrge 7 (1978) 51-52, and further discussed by S. Halliwell, LCM 8.2 (1983) 31-32; there is no explicit comment in the text, however. For the use of the ekkyklema in the Dyskolos 690-758, see Gomme and Sandbach 1973.239-241 ad loc. and Frost 1988.58, with full discussion. Knemon's line at 758, esku]klet' esv me seems sufficiently explicit, but there is no parody or play with the convention, as in Aristophanes. See also my review of Frost in Slater 1991.

5See Frost 1988 ad loc., and Handley 1965.283-86 ad loc. Of interest in this regard is the "Bari Dancers," an Apulian calyx crater dating around 365-350 BC and showing two aulos players with wings dancing around an altar; see the discussion in Taplin 1991 and, more fully, Taplin 1993.70-78. Taplin 1993.105-110 is a very useful survey of possible metatheatrical play with the aulos-player. It is notable, however, that all of his examples come from Old Comedy, with the sole exception of the only surviving (and quite corrupt) fragment of Antiphanes' Auletes.

6On the late fifth century deme theatre at Trachones see Green 1991a. 18-19 and (cited in Green) O. Alexandri, Ergon 1980. 24-25, Praktika 1980. 64-67, and Ergon 1981. 44-45. Taplin 1993.5 makes a good case for interpreting Clouds 523, prtouw jvs' nages' mw, to imply that Aristophanes had other venues in which he could have produced the Clouds.

7trans. C. B. Gulick in the Loeb edition of Athenaeus.

8Nesselrath 1990.335. We cannot demonstrate that any of these uses was choral or in an epirrhematic exchange with the chorus, but it is tempting to speculate.

9Nesselrath 1990 ibid.

10Whitehead 1986.338-345, esp. 339.

11Anaxandrides, Anchises fr. 4 K.-A. 3-4: pollo d nn mn esin ok leyeroi, / ew arion d Souniew. Cf. Whitehead 1986. 340. There may have been a similar joke about the deme Potamos in Menander's Didmai, since Harpocration says, s.v. Potamw: ... kvmdonto d w =&dvw dexmenoi tow pareggrptouw , w lloi te dhlosi ka Mnandrow n Didmaiw. Whitehead 1986. 292 n. 7 suggests this joke may go back to Strattis in the fifth century, since he wrote a Potmioi.

12See Taplin 1987a and 1987b, and now Taplin 1993.36-41.

13Green1991b. 49-56; 55.

14While the Thesmophoriazusae vase is invaluable evidence for Attic drama in South Italy, the concern of Taplin 1993.44-45 over the paucity of other specific associations of surviving vases with known Aristophanes plays seems misplaced. Surely the majority, indeed the vast majority of Greek performances in South Italy were of contemporary plays. One would assume that Aristophanes was no larger a proportion of the current repertoire in the fourth century than G. B. Shaw is today: a classic, not a staple, in other words.

15Halliwell 1989. 515-528; 519. Cf. Slater 1985. 103-105. [Are any Middle comedy playwrights definitely named by other playwrights? Cf. n. xxx below on Timocles.]

16Hunter 1983 ad loc. Hunter notes that such borrowing was "particularly frequent in the Middle Comedy fragments," and provides this list of examples: Philemon 114 K.-A. [=123K]/Straton 1 K.-A. [=219 Austin]; Eubulus 122 K.-A. [=125K]/Alexis 284 K.-A. [=282K]; Eubulus 109 K.-A. vv. 1-2 [=110K]/Ephippus 15 K.-A. vv. 3-4 [=15K]; Antiphanes 89 K.-A. [=89K]/Epicrates 5 K.-A. vv. 4-9 [=5K]. See also his references to E. Stemplinger, Das Plagiat in der griechischen Literatur (Leipzig and Berlin 1912) and Kroll on the general subject of plagiarism.

17Since coming to this conclusion on the basis of Menander's career alone, I find that Taplin 1993.94 n. 14 argues for an increasing market outside Athens based on the larger outputs of fourth century playwrights (perhaps 130 reported titles each for Antiphanes and Alexis).

18We must at least consider the possibility that the original productions at the City Dionysia and Lenaia contained references to other comic plays and comic playwrights, but such references were excised from the touring productions which are the source of our texts. Such a system of double texts is rather inefficient, however, and if such ever existed, I would assume it quickly gave way to writing a single, "international" text. One might point here to the interesting contemporary case of Woody Allen's God: A Play, which is virtually unperformable outside New York City, because of its explicit metatheatrical references to things experienced by actors and audience in the subway on the way to the theatre, etc. The few productions that take place tend to re-write the text massively.

19On the virtually magical view of poetry's powers implied here, see Pohlenz 1920.142-178; 168-169. Pohlenz sees in particular here the influence of Gorgias' theory of pth.

20See most recently Henderson 1991.133-147; 140-141.

21Literally, "wedge"---the outermost wedge of seats (i.e., with the worst sightlines) is meant. See Henderson 1991. 140-141.

22Boettiger, Kleine Schriften I (1837) p. 300-302. The social views which inform Boettiger's scholarship on this point become rather clear with his reference to "dieses neumodische right of Women (um mit der neuesten groen Verfecterin dieser Ordnung, der Mi Wolstonkraft, zu reden)...."

23Kann 1909. 78: "Ut in contione feminae in Ecclesiazusis, ita in theatro in Gunaikokrat& imperium sibi parare volunt."

24Henderson 1991. 141.

25Cf. also Alexis frr. 77 and 113 K.-A., both of which mention a Timocles who may be the comic poet. In fr. 77, Timocles is given as the source for a witticism about Chairephilos sons: this may have been in a play, or it may have been in conversation. If this is the poet, and one of his plays is being quoted, this is most unusual, since even in Old Comedy, one poet rarely quoted another with approbation, due to the competitive mode of play production. In fr. 113, a Timocles is cited as a typical drunkard; Edmonds speculates that this may be the comic poet being criticized as Cratinus was in the fifth century, but again we cannot be sure (and he occurs in a list with two definitely mythical characters, Oinopion and Maron). Alexis fr. 184 K.-A. speaks of water being cuxrteron Arartow, apparently a reference to Aristophanes son, who had no particularly distinguished career as a comic poet. The use of the term cuxrw here is intriguing, in that it echoes Aristophanes own description of Theognis [which poet is this?] in Thesmo. 170: d' a Yogniw cuxrw n cuxrw poe. We should remember how long Alexis career was; Old Comedy elements, such as this kind of personal commentary, may have lingered long in his style.

26Edmonds 1959 ad fr. 41 [= fr. 42 K.-A.] speculated that the play might date after the rebuilding of the Theatre of Dionysus in 329 BC, but the division of the theatre into kerkides predated that rebuilding, so there is really no evidence for the date. Amphis also wrote a Gunaikokrata, of which only one fragment, 8 K., survives, whose subject matter is not theatrical. On the other hand, Amphiss Eryoi may well be the first evidence for the use of the metaphor of life as theatre. In a contrast between country and city living, Amphis says (fr. 17 K.-A. line 4): stu d yatron {stin} tuxaw gmon. It is hard to judge from a four-line fragment, of course, but the use of the metaphor does not seem particularly metatheatrical here: rather, the theatre has become the preeminent place of display for the workings of txh, so that reference to the theatre is simply a matter of moralizing reflection.

27Green 1991a. 32. See also his discussion of the group in Webster 19783. 45-47.

28What I have translated "opening" might or might not be the prologue. The narrative of a conventional prologue would fall under "set-up," but the use of the word esboln for "opening" seems deliberately vague: a play needed a strong opening which might be a dialogue scene, followed by a delayed prologue. "Second act curtain" is literally the catastrophe, the turning point of the action, which often comes in the fourth act of a New Comedy.

29Nesselrath 1990. 339 suggests a reading public is responsible. The type never disappeared, as Sikon in the Dyskolos and various cooks in Roman comedy demonstrate, but their roles were much less prominent.

30On the chorus in late Aristophanes, see Handley 1953. 55-61. For Menander, see Handley 1965.171-174 ad Dyskolos 230-232 (cf. Frost 1988. 27) and Gomme and Sandbach 1973 ad Epitrepontes 169. Sifakis 1971b.410-432 argues that in Middle Comedy it was common for the chorus to perform the parados in character and interludes thereafter, with an emphasis on dancing which was "lively and even, in the opinion of some critics, obscene" (432). If this was the case for the performances Aristotle saw, however, it need not have been so outside Athens.

31Hunter 1979. 23-38.

32Maidment 1935. 1-24, does point out one problem for this uniform view. He notes that Aeschines, in a prosecution of Timarchus in 345 BC, refers to a joke made at Timarchus's expense by a comic actor performing at the Rural Dionysia (In Tim. 157): prhn n tow kat' groiw kvmdn ntvn n Kollut ka Parmnontow to kvmiko pokrito epntow ti prw tn xorn npaiston n n ena tinaw prnouw meglouw Timarxdeiw.... The actor Parmenon (393 O'C) is known and had one Lenaean victory: I.G. II/III2 2325; see Mette 1977.179 and Ghiron-Bistagne 1976. 350. Note that the actor specifically spoke in anapaests, the typical metre of the parabasis. This seems astonishingly late for such direct address to the audience and for such a personal attack. We do not know the playwright or the play. I can only suggest that a parabatic tradition may have survived longer at the Rural Dionysia than at the city festivals, but even this is a rather unsatisfactory explanation, for Kollytus was one of five "genuinely urban demes;" see Whitehead 1986. 26. We also know of a fourth century performance of Sophocles' Oinomaus there: Demosth. 18.180. Perhaps a certain conservatism was a function of the deme festival differentiating itself from the great city festivals. The passage does not, as Maidment suggests (13 and n. 3), necessarily imply that "the chorus in contemporary comedy was present throughout the dialogue [and] also took a definite part in the dialogue."

33We might note that the absence of any such lyrics from Menander is not conclusive proof that he never wrote such lyrics. Again, the most likely assumption is that we possess the touring versions of his plays, which would lack such details; cf. n. 18 above.

34Sifakis 1967. 72, cf. 116.

35Sifakis 1967. 116-120.

36The scanty evidence from South Italy is fertile ground for speculation on the questions of whether comic performances there normally had choruses. Taplin 1993.55-60 and 75-78 believes that choruses were part of South Italian performances (though perhaps smaller in number than in Athens), but we should perhaps be a bit more cautious. His belief in choruses allows him to provide an interesting explanation of the so-called "Choregoi Vase," which he himself admits (76) is the best evidence he can provide (nor are the Delphi inscriptions, on which see above, persuasive for choruses in South Italy). An analysis of the "Choregoi Vase" is beyond the scope of this note, but I would suggest that Taplin too easily dismisses the difficulty that the two labelled choregoi are shown on the stage, not on the orchestra level. Might they then be actors playing characters with a function but not necessarily personal names, much like the Logoi in the Clouds? Though much later, Plautus may provide evidence for what he and his contemporaries could see performed in Taranto and elsewhere. Hunter 1979. 37-38 prefers to see Greek choruses behind the piscatores of the Rudens and the advocati of the Poenulus. Whether that is so or not, however, nothing persuaded Plautus to attempt any use of a traditional chorus in the orchestra in his plays. I suspect that there were some performances with chorus in the cities of Magna Graecia, but they are likely to have been the exception rather than the rule.

37Sifakis 1967. 130-135.

38Cf. Slater 1987. 1-10.

39Bierl 1990.353-391.

40Kannicht-Snell TrGF II 217 comments on the metre and gives a list of words which seem too "tragic" for a comedy. The text has also been edited in Musa Tragica, ed. B. Gauly et al. (Gttingen 1991) 251-253; 302, where the editors adopt the suggestion (of W. Luppe, ZPE 72 [1988] 36) that the verses come from a "parabasenhaften Epilog" to a satyr play (250). The degree of illusion-breaking tolerable in satyr play is open to debate. Interesting in this regard is the discussion in Green 1991a. 47-49 of the satyrs' metatheatrical discussion of masks that they carry in Aeschylus's Isthmiastae. One can only say that the degree of metatheatricality in P. Kln 242A exceeds anything else in our limited evidence heretofore.

41My translation is of course deeply indebted to that in Bierl 1990. 355-356 and his commentary. A number of terms would not in other contexts be unambiguously theatrical, but here it is very tempting to take didxyhn as "I rehearsed, learned my part," ceudomna[iw] as "fictions, plots," and trta as "third prize."

42Bierl 1990. 385 (commenting on line 20): "In our text the comic poet, or the speaker representing comedy, notes in the first person that he has been rolled or has rolled himself into illusion, i.e., the tragic form of Euripides. He may be saying that with the new comic style there is scarcely any distinction between tragedy and comedy. In the following lines he wants to express his opposition to this kind of comic composition."

43See Bierl 1990. 365-368 with notes for an excellent discussion of pth as theatrical illusion; cf. Slater 1993. One point Bierl does not address seems of particular interest to me: why does the speaker refer to ptaw, rather than simply pthn? Could ptaw mean "plays with illusionistic plots," or could it mean that there are different kinds of dramatic illusions?

44For my argument in favor of the reduction during the war years (against the proposal of Luppe that five plays continued to compete throughout the war), see Slater 1988 (with bibliography).